THE PROMISED LAND

Album version

On a rattlesnake speedway in the Utah desert
I pick up my money and head back into town
Driving cross the Waynesboro county line
I got the radio on and I'm just killing time
Working all day in my daddy's garage
Driving all night chasing some mirage
Pretty soon little girl I'm gonna take charge

The dogs on Main Street howl 'cause they understand
If I could take one moment into my hands
Mister I ain't a boy, no I'm a man
And I believe in a promised land

I've done my best to live the right way
I get up every morning and go to work each day
But your eyes go blind and your blood runs cold
Sometimes I feel so weak I just want to explode
Explode and tear this whole town apart
Take a knife and cut this pain from my heart
Find somebody itching for something to start

The dogs on Main Street howl 'cause they understand
If I could reach one moment into my hands
Mister I ain't a boy, no I'm a man
And I believe in a promised land

Hmm
Hmmm
Hmmmm

Well there's a dark cloud rising from the desert floor
I packed my bags and I'm heading straight into the storm
Gonna be a twister to blow everything down
That ain't got the faith to stand its ground
Blow away the dreams that tear you apart
Blow away the dreams that break your heart
Blow away the lies that leave you nothing but lost and brokenhearted

Well the dogs on Main Street howl 'cause they understand
If I could take one moment into my hands
Mister I ain't a boy, no I'm a man
And I believe in a promised land
And I believe in a promised land
And I believe in a promised land


A masterpiece of the Darkness On The Edge Of Town album. It was the last track mixed down prior to the LP release (read below).

The song appeared for the first time during the Darkness On The Edge Of Town tour rehearsals on 19 May 1978 at Paramount Theater, Asbury Park, NJ. It was played during each night of the tour. Played during both the MUSE Benefit concerts on 21 and 22 Sep 1979 at Madison Square Gardens, New York City, NY. Performed with Atlantic City Expressway on 09 Jan 1980 at The Fast Lane, Asbury Park, NJ.

Played during each night of The River tour. Performed off-tour on 14 Jun 1981 at the Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles, CA, during Survival Sunday Anti Nuke benefit with Jackson Browne and Gary US Bonds. Also performed on 12 Jun 1982 for Rally For Disarmament, Central Park, NY, with Jackson Browne, and the show was televised on Cable TV.

Played during a warm-up gig for the Born In The USA tour on 08 Jun 1984 at The Stone Pony, Asbury Park, NJ. Played during each night of the tour, except on 04 Sep 1984 at Centrum In Worcester, Worcester, MA, and 27 Aug 1985 at CNE Stadium, Toronto, Canada. The 30 Sep 1985 performance at the Coliseum, Los Angeles, CA, was included on the Live 1975-85 box set.

Played on 19 Jan 1986 at The Stone Pony, Asbury Park, NJ, during a benefit for the 3M Plant in Freehold, with the full E St Band except Nils and Roy. Also played on 02 Mar 1986 at The Stone Pony, Asbury Park, NJ, with the full E St Band except Roy Bittan.

Played only twice during the Tunnel Of Love tour, two consecutive times and both in Berlin, Germany, on 19 Jul 1988 at Radrennbahn Weissensee and on 22 Jul 1988 at Waldbuhne. Also played off-tour on 18 Jun 1988 at Chateau De Vincennes, Paris, France, a guest appearance by Bruce and Clarence at the SOS Racism Concert which was broadcasted on French TV. Played during each the 20 Human Rights Now! tour shows in 1988.

Played only 3 times during 2nd leg of the Human Touch tour, on 23 Mar 1993 at Count Basie Theatre, Red Bank, NJ, during a benefit and warm-up show, on 04 Apr 1993 at Westfalenhalle, Dortmund, Germany, and on 07 Apr 1993 at Hallenstadion, Zurich, Switzrerland.

Played acoustic during The Ghost Of Tom Joad tour, 106 times between 16 Dec 1995 at The Orpheum, Boston, MA, and the end of the tour on 26 May 1997 at Palais Des Congres, Paris, France. Also performed off-tour on 27 Oct 1996 for a televised feed, the Anti-Proposition 209 Rally at Los Angeles, CA. Performed on 31 Jan 1998 at Count Basie Theatre, Red Bank, NJ, during a benefit concert to honor slain Long Branch police officer Sgt. Patrick King who was killed in New Jersey, and to raise money for a fund to provide for his family. The song was also played during the sound-check the previous night.

Rehearsed for the Reunion tour on 11 Mar 1999 at the Convention hall, Asbury Park, NJ, when about 25 people only were allowed into the hall to hear the band play (read below). Performed on 15 Mar 1999 in the main ballroom of Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, New York City, NY, during Springsteen's induction to the Rock 'N' Roll Hall Of Fame (read below). Also rehearsed for the Reunion tour on 18 and 19 Mar 1999 at the Convention hall, Asbury Park, NJ. Played about 95 times during the tour.

Rehearsed for The Rising tour on 25 Jul, 26 Jul, 30 Jul, 02 Aug, and 05 Aug 2002 at the Convention Hall, Asbury Park, NJ. Played 74 times during the tour. The 16 Oct 2002 show at Palau Sant Jordi, Barcelona, Spain, including THE PROMISED LAND, is available on Live In Barcelona DVD.

Rehearsed for the Vote For Change tour on 27, 28, and 29 Sep 2004 at the Convention Hall, Asbury Park, NJ, and performed during the tour shows with John Fogerty on:
- 01 Oct 2004 at Wachovia Center, Philadelphia, PA
- 02 Oct 2004 at Gund Arena, Cleveland, OH
- 03 Oct 2004 at Cobo Arena, Detroit, MI
- 05 Oct 2004 at Xcel Energy Center, Saint Paul, MN
- 08 Oct 2004 at TD Waterhouse, Orlando, FL
- 13 Oct 2004 at the Continental Arena, East Rutherford, NJ
Note that the 11 Oct 2004 show was the only one during which Bruce didn't perform the song.

Performed acoustic during Bruce's apparitions at Fresh Start For America Rally with Senator John Kerry, on 28 Oct 2004 in Madison, WI, 28 Oct 2004 in Columbus, OH, 29 Oct in Miami, FL, and 01 Nov 2004 in Cleveland, OH.

Played during 32 of the first 33 Devils & Dust tour shows till now (the last update of this page).

Released on a single in 1978 with STREETS OF FIRE. Also included on The Essential Bruce Springsteen collection.

These lyrics refer to the album version. A different mix of the song appears on The Heart Of Darkens bootleg. It has same lyrics as the album version, but the main difference is the lack of the guitar solo. Check also the live 05 Oct 2004 version from the Vote For Change tour.


From the interview with Mark Hagen on MOJO Magazine, Jan 1999:

[Mark Hagen:] You've done that quite a lot, haven't you? Finished records and then reworked them completely.

[Bruce:] Yeah well, it's never over until it's over. Everybody's telling you you're done and you take it home and it's just not right. It's happened many many times. It happened on Darkness - we had finished, I was back in New York City, put the record on, Promised Land came up on the second side, it just wasn't the right mix and then I stopped the record and went back to California. I only spent it doing this, so my life at the time was extremely focused, probably to the detriment of the records. But very often these things were created amid a mess and you don't know what you're doing until you're done.

From Backstreets Magazine # 62, page 38:

On Mar 11, the last day of rehearsal before the E Streeters had to make way for that weekend's "Mar Metal Meltdown," a security guard stepped outside and told the fans gathered there, "I'm going to do you guys one hell of a favor." Bruce welcomed his first audience  - "You guys have been out in the cold too long!" - and treated them to five songs: THE PROMISED LAND, TOUGHER THAN THE REST, SHE'S THE ONE, BACKSTREETS, and BOBBY JEAN.

From Backstreets Magazine # 62, page 32:

[on 15 Mar 1999] The explosive first notes of THE PROMISED LAND shook the banquet hall and brought the entire audience to its feet. Though it didn't have the same sense of community and excitement felt at a legitimate Springsteen show, those there knew they were a part of history, an evening people would be talking about for years to come.

The band sounded loud and tight, with the song enabling almost all the band members to shine. The crowd gave Clemons a huge ovation during his first solo, and swelled again when Bruce took out his harmonica to center stage.